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Best Breed Of Horse For A First Time Owner And Beginner

If you have your heart set on owning a horse of a particular breed, you may have to search harder for the right individual. Suitable beginner horses of almost any breed exist, you may just have to look a bit further and try out more horses before you find just the right horse for you.

Whether you have got some experience already or you’re a beginner who is looking to buy a first horse, we hope this text will answer your questions. Read on to learn more.

What’s The Best Breed For A First Horse?

best horse breeds for beginners

When looking for your first horse, it’s a good idea to avoid horses that are described as being “hot”, “hot-blooded” or having a “lot of blood”. These terms are used to describe fiery, excitable horses such as Arabian horses, Thoroughbreds and a few others.

These finely built, energetic, flighty horses are suited to competitive activities such racing and showing and are, best handled by experienced riders and trainers.

Draft horses are bred to perform heavy work. They are generally calm and quiet and are considered “cold-bloods”. These horses are large and heavy-boned and not as agile as “hot-bloods”. Purebred draft horses are not typically used for riding.

Warmbloods, such as Hanoverian, Holsteiner, and Trakhener are the result of careful crossbreeding of draft breeds and hot-blooded breeds. While they are calmer than hot-bloods, they are still better suited to experienced riders who want to show and compete.

For a novice, first-time horse owner the type of horse typically described as a “cob” is a good choice. This description encompasses many attractive breeds (best horse breeds for beginners) including:

  • Pony of the Americas (POA)
  • Gypsy Vanners
  • Quarter Horses
  • Welsh Ponies
  • Appaloosas
  • Haflingers
  • Morgans
  • Paints

All of these tend to have a balanced and fairly quiet personality suitable for beginners but can also be interesting and enjoyable for experienced riders.

These are all types that are sturdily built, not especially tall and are versatile enough to ride or drive. These horses are typically quieter and better able to form a bond with their handler.

Crosses that contain some draft horse blood (Belgian, Percheron, Irish Draught, Suffolk Punch, Clydesdale or Shire) can be considered cob-types. This sort of cross often displays a calm and even temperament.

Nonetheless, always remember that each horse is an individual and breeding is only a small part of the formula that determines temperament.

For simple pleasure riding any individual whose temperament suits your fancy will do. Don’t neglect the idea of starting off with a nice saddle mule. Mules are typically calmer and sturdier than horses. A good saddle mule can be a real pleasure to ride, and mules are typically healthier and live significantly longer than horses.

What’s The Best Horse Breed For Me Quiz

You can try our quiz if you want to find out which horse breed may be right for you.

How Old Are You?

A Bad Background Produces A Bad Horse

best breed of horse for first time owner

Just as with people, horses are a product of nature and nurture. It is far better to focus on the training and temperament of your first horse than the breed. A mature, well-trained horse of any breed is preferable to even the very best young, untrained horse or one who has been poorly trained.

Project horses or rescues that have been badly abused are also not good choices for a beginner. Even the best breeding can be destroyed by improper care and handling.

Does Size Matter?

does horse size matter

The size of your mount should be well matched to your size. If you are small, you should not be precariously perched atop an enormous draft horse. Likewise, if you are heavy or long-legged, avoid comically straddling a very small horse or pony. You will look ridiculous to others, and your horse will not find you amusing at all.

Generally speaking, new riders tend to do best with small-to-medium sized horses. Larger, sturdy ponies (13HH) can typically carry an adult well and are nicely suited for smaller adults and children. Smaller horses (14-15HH) are a good choice for most adults.

If you are exceptionally tall or heavy, you may wish to look for a taller horse or a horse or mule with draft blood. Draft horses are known to be calm, but for the most part a smaller horse is easier to tack up, easier to mount, easier to ride and less of a challenge to feed.

What About Age?

a mature horse

A mature horse is a better choice for a beginner. If a horse has been well-cared-for, “advanced” age should not be a concern. Horses can live to be over twenty years old when well-cared-for and remain perfectly sound for quiet pleasure riding. When you buy an older horse, you will probably spend less on the purchase price. With proper care and feeding, you can look forward to many years of enjoyable riding.

Which Is Better, Mares, Geldings Or Stallions?

mares, geldings or stallions

Nobody but a breeder needs a stallion. A beginning rider definitely does not need a stallion. Hormone swings can cause a great deal of unpredictable behavior in stallions and in some mares.

Generally speaking, you are better off with a gelding. Even if you buy a male mule, be sure he has been properly gelded by a veterinarian. This eliminates concerns about hormone driven misbehavior. Equines that have been improperly gelded by a non-professional often continue to exhibit inappropriate, hormonally driven behaviors.

If you want to learn a bit more about different horse breeds, it is a good idea to buy one of the popular books about horses and horse breeds.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Horses & Foals since 2017. Horses have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.


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1 thought on “Best Breed Of Horse For A First Time Owner And Beginner”

  1. Great article…enjoyed reading. Good info.
    Was always looking for a list of beginner horses to buy. So glad to have the list.
    Thank you!

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